XP-PEN Artist22E Pro
Reviewed by: Patrick Vanderpool (povcardesigns)
Written on: 02/24/2019
Soooo my old Wacom Intuos 2 finally decided to give up on me and I found myself in the market for new drawing tablet. At work I use a 24HD Wacom Cintiq which was considered an industry standard so i’m using my experience on that tablet as the main comparison of this review.
I started my search by looking at the current Wacom lineup. I was in a tough spot because they are very expensive; I was looking at over 2 grand for a new 22+ inch or larger screen. I wasn’t planning on going smaller than a 22in and was not going to take a risk on something used and abused. This got me looking into Cintiq alternatives. I’ve watched many reviews of animators and graphic designers using alternatives and most seem to have no problems delivering strong comparable work and it did not seem to block their creative process nor did it make them superheros. The biggest issues seemed to be the slight learning curve of using a different product and differences in how the alternatives cut corners.
I ended up focusing on 2 brands: Huion from China and XP-PEN once Japanese then US now Chinese brand. It seemed between the 2 that they both were very competitive with each other in terms of tech and they are both beginning to breath down Wacom’s neck. Huion seems to be better made than XP-Pen which is slightly cheaper in-turn a little more raw. Given the price I didn’t mind that comprise as long as I can perform well without being bottlenecked by the product. So I decided to try out the XP-PEN and specifically their 22E Artist Pro.
When it came in, the packaging was better looking than expected and they did a good job of protecting the product. So here’s what comes in the box: the tablet, two pens, a drawing glove, all the cables, nibs, and associated papers. I was sold on how optimized it was, my desk is pretty small so I was happy of its footprint, my Cintiq 24HD at work is large and heavy. The quality is fine but you can see where XP-PEN decided to cut corners (such as exposed tooling flash marks and poor location of parting lines) but none of this affects the use of the tablet, it is just something I notice when relating the 22E Artist Pro with the Wacom Cintiq. Hooking it up to my system is straightforward and surprising quick. I had to uninstall my old Wacom drivers and download the XP-PEN online drivers which installed easily, it also was easy to calibrate and setup use the tablet software that felt similar to the Wacom’s. The color out the box was fine and worked well with my other monitors, if anything it was more natural.
I charged up both pens which seems to take a hour or so, unlike the Cintiq which doesn’t require a charge. I was quickly reminded of my only personal workflow change which is getting use to that pen’s lack of eraser but it does have buttons like the wacom pen that could be programed to toggle the eraser. The XP-PEN screen felt more tactile then my 24HD at work and has a smooth matte finish, my old Intuos and the Cintiq have slicker feeling matte drawing surfaces. The matte screen does a very good job defusing ceiling lights. The pen pressure is outstanding depending on what program you use, this XP-PEN has more levels of pressure than my Cintiq at work but to be fair the 24HD is an older Wacom. My version of Photoshop is old (CS5) and doesn’t play very nice with the tablet or more or less Windows ink but it does play well with my newer softwares such as: Affinity Photo, Sketchbook Pro, Krita, and Gimp.
Sketching and drawing on the tablet is easy to do, I have no problems creating straight lines and ellipses (unless i’m using CS5, the lines are kinda choppy unless I really zoom in on the canvas). Shading is perfect and the pen does what I asked it to do. The pen feels good in the hand and last a long time on a charge, it feels good on the screen and does not feel to dampened or hard. The pen is lighter weight than the Cintiq’s but I do not consider this a bad thing at all. The rubber grip on the pen works well but also has a visible flash mark that I can feel vs the Cintiq that also has a flash mark I can’t feel. The hot keys on the side are easy to program and are a blessing on my small desk! The screen doesn’t get hot on long drawing sessions unlike the Wacom so my hands can stay drawing longer. This is a straight forward drawing tablet that doesn’t slow me down so I assume other industrial designers will have similar experiences, it is better than expected.
Overall, I’m happy and I feel good about my purchase I just hope that over time that XP-PEN will continue to have strong customer support and keep the drivers up to date as software/hardware improves. I’m able to sketch, draw and paint digitally like I do at work for a lot less money than my Cintiq, I don’t feel like i’m missing out with Wacom. Hopefully they are working on some competitive 4k products to really try to make a wave in the alternative.
- Dimension: 517x321x30mm
- Display Area: 476.64×268.11mm
- Display Resolution: 1920×1080 pixels
- RGB Gamma Ray: 2.2
- Adobe Color Gamut Coverage: 72%
- Express Keys: 16
- Response Time: 14ms
- Pixel Pitch: 0.24825(H) x 0.24825(V)mm
- Support Color: 16.7M
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
- Backlight Unit: Lower side 1-LED light bar type
- Brightness: 250cd/㎡
- Viewing Angle: 178
- Power Consumption: 18.49W
- Power Source: AC100~240V universal
- I/O Connector: DC power in, VGA 15-pin D-sub input, DVI input, HDMI input, USB-connector
- Technology: Electromagnetic
- Pressure Levels: 8192
- Resolution: 5080 LPI
- Accuracy: 0.25mm
- Reading Height: 15mm Max
- Supply Voltage: +5V
- Power Consumption: 0.05A(0.25Watts) Max
- USB Interface: USB port 1.1
- Report Rate: 266 reports per second
How does this feel compared the my Wacom at work?
For my workflow the 22E is just as effective as my 24HD at work, the only difference is Wacom did a good job of designing their products so you rarely place your fingers on raw parting lines with regular use. The XP-PEN really paid no attention to this potential issue, but the more I use it the more I adapt to it, similar to the sharp edge of a Macbook.
Does it work as expected?
Very much so. If there was one thing I can say 22E is just as advertised if not better.
Is it worth the price?
Yes! I paid $450 on Amazon and It feels like Wacom needs the watch out. XP-PEN is not very far away from growing a pair of legs and walking all over Wacom and the over priced products.
No, not yet. I have more issues with my Cintiq 24HD at work than I do with this but the night is young.